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Monday, 26 August 2013

"Elysium" and "End of Watch" and an Amphicar

Today, with no cricket to watch, my partner and I went to the pictures.

Our local cinema is "Cityscreen" in the centre of York. It is in walking distance from home. It opened about ten years ago and we have been members for most of that time. Today we saw the new sci-fi film "Elysium" with Matt Damon and Jodie Foster and we thoroughly enjoyed it. A good story, plenty of wizz-bang, a very scary baddie, not much to think about (all a little obvious). We agreed, if you like sci-fi, probably you will like this film.

The Riverside Cafe is part of the cinema and this is where we had lunch. As is implied in the name, it overlooks the river that runs through York, the River Ouse. The weather was warm so we ate on the outside terrace. An Amphicar, picture above, was plying up and down the river and attracting a lot of attention. Not a common sight on our river, 4000 of these little amphibious cars were made in Germany in the 60's so there cannot be many left. Good to see.

On Saturday, rain prevented any play at the Oval so I watched another film, "End of Watch". A policier directed by David Ayer and starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. The cover sleeve says "a gritty and visceral cop thriller that puts the viewer at the centre of the action." For once, I agree with the sleeve note. It took me a couple of minutes to get used to the documentary style of story telling, but then I settled down and I enjoyed the film very much.

I think Jake Gyllenhaal is turning into a very fine actor, one I want to see. I really enjoyed "Source Code" and "Prince of Persia" and earlier, "Donnie Darko", "Brokeback Mountain" and "Jarhead". IMDB lists four new films, I look forward to those.

The Ashes 2013, Game 5, The Oval

The final games at the Oval was a draw. A real cliffhanger. England came within 4 overs of a historic 4 - 0 Ashes series win, but we were beaten by the light (or the lack of it).

Hats off to Michael Clarke, the Australian team captain for his very daring declaration to end his team's second innings at tea yesterday.

So, at the end of the 2013 Ashes Tour in England the score is


England celebrate (thanks to BBC for the photo)
Between now and mid-September there are some T20 and one day matches, Australia go home. Then England travel to Australia for the next Ashes tour, first match begins on November 21st in Brisbane - I'm so excited already.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Photos of Zouaves, winter 1914

On the web I came across a collection of 102 photographs of Zouaves in the front line, dated winter 1914. The collection was named "Photos du Front de Joseph Lavieuville".

Here are two.

Of note in the first photo is the racial mix and the adapting to the weather with the wearing of sheepskin jackets. The lower is one of the best portrait photos I have found.

I don't know who put the collection on the web, but if you read this blog, thank you.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Mortier de 370mm Filloux

I found over this postcard on WorldWarOne Facebook page. It is a postcard that is also published in "Les Canons de la Victoire 1914-1918 , Tome 2 L'Artillerie Lourde a Grande Puissance" by General Guy Francois.

The General details the loading system for the mortar. A truck on rails facilitates the loading of a shell, using the crane. Each shell weighs 520kgs. The photo also shows that almost every man has a different combination of uniform, horizon bleu, dark blue and fatigues, kepis, berets, helmets, bonnets de police and one man in a flat cap.

The postcard was posted at Foucaucourt on 8th September 1916.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Side Effects, Sightseers, SLP and remembering Elmore Leonard

As there is a gap between the fourth and fifth Ashes matches, I have watched a few films. I would like to recommend the following.

Beautifully done, Jude Law was excellent

Very dark, very funny, I'll never see trams the same way again

Fantastic performances

I enjoyed all three of these. Is "Side Effects" the last film of Stephen Soderbergh? I hope not.

One film I cannot recommend is "Alex Cross" - just no - don't.

Whilst looking for the above posters, I saw on BBC news that Elmore Leonard has died from a stroke. This is very sad news. A great loss to all film fans. Only last week I watched again another Soderbergh film, on a story by Leonard, "Out of Sight".

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Compagnie Franche de la Marine

Opened Facebook and found this photo of a parade of re-enactors of Compagnie Franche de la Marine in Quebec, Canada. Following them is a group of what looks like Coureurs de Bois.

I think these are magnificent, well done.

The photo is from a Facebook page "Souvenirs d'Amérique francaise".

The Ashes 2014, Game 4, Chester-le-Street

Stuart Broad took eleven wickets, photo from Daily Telegraph
After four days of play, in the evening gloom, England win  Game 4 and so have won the 2013 Ashes series with one game to play.


England have retained the Ashes for the third time in a row. Well done boys.

The Ashes Urn

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Ashes 2013, 4th Test, Chester-le-Street

A very good day yesterday at the match
Jimmy Anderson, strolling back from practice

Cricket royalty

Start of play

KP in cow corner


Monday, 5 August 2013

The Ashes 2013, Game 3, Old Trafford, Manchester

This match has been declared a draw. Just after lunch on day 5, it started to rain and it has not stopped. No further play was possible. So the score is still:


This does mean that England have retained the Ashes.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

BBC4 "Churchill's First World War"

Taking it easy over breakfast this Sunday morning, I watched a very interesting history programme, a BBC4 programme, "Churchill's First World War".

I was in two minds as to whether to watch this documentary. Too many programmes about Churchill start by putting him on a pedestal and repeat the mantra "Churchill saved Britain in 1940 - he was a great man - bow down and worship him". This programme starts from the premise that he had his faults, one of these being his self-belief and ambition that was seen by some as ego-mania. Churchill really thought he could do no wrong. He pushed the strategy of forcing Turkey out of the war by defeating their army and navy in Gallipoli. He got this wrong, he was the one pushed, out of the Cabinet. ( A great over-simplification by me)

Churchill went away and rebuilt his career and reputation by volunteering for service on the Western Front and biding his time, very much encouraged by his wife Clementine.

So, in summation, I recommend this programme, I learnt something.